The future of Customer Success

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Hello there!

Customer success is evolving rapidly and is quickly taking on revenue ownership.

Will it replace sales or marketing?

To find out, I decided to talk to Chris Dishman, SVP of Customer Success at Totango Catalyst.

Do you want to listen or watch the conversation with Chris? Here you have the links to the full episode (only 34 mins):

YouTube |Spotify | Apple

Customer success is still in many companies a reactive department, and is often ill-equipped for the expectations of the new revenue organisation.

Yes, you read that right: CS is fully part of the modern revenue organisation.

This evolution has only recently accelerated for various reasons – let’s call them the 4Cs:

  • CAC: it is cheaper to hire CS teams than to hire sales teams and today companies are looking how to optimise for efficient growth. By offloading operational activities from traditional account management into CS, sales teams can focus on more strategic areas of their role.
  • Churn: more organisations are becoming data-driven, and start to realise the impact churn has on their org. As such maximising lifetime value (LTV) becomes core of revenue departments, and net retention (NRR) and spotting of upsells becomes even more crucial.
  • Core of the role: it was pretty unclear to many organisations what CS actually did and so most organisations underinvested into the department.
  • Client facing: CS is talking every day to clients. The data they gather is pure gold for product, marketing and sales departments.

All this results in that CS is becoming a much more proactive engagement with clients and within the organisation to drive positive customer outcomes.

What about NPS?

NPS was for a long time the sole metric to understand if CS did ‘a good job’ and it is time to move past this.

For example, gaining actionable insights derived from customer feedback (the why behind the NPS the client gave), but also the crucial role in churn prevention they play as well as in spotting upsell opportunities.

Collaboration with other teams

I call it the hybridisation of the role: CS is taking over some operational sales tasks (spotting upsells, operational account management…), have sometimes evangelists in their midst, and have still their core tasks at hand.

Chris insists that there is no 1-size-fits-for-all however, and that context and size of every company has to be taken into account.

In any case, this means that alignment and collaboration between sales, marketing and CS should be high on the agenda for any company, and that it is clearly defined who is doing what, and I am fully aware that some sales and marketing departments are nervous of CS entering ‘their turf’.

In my workshops with my clients, we do this by developing a revenue operating model in which we define who is doing what in which stage of the client journey (from unaware to aware, from demand creation to capture, from revenue capture to champion creation).

Contact me if you want to hear more.

Coaching CS leaders

In my experience, CS leaders are the Jean-Claude Van Damme in organisations. The best ones I know are data-driven, customer oriented and people people.

Combine this with the evolutions within the department, increased stakeholder management, more strategic impact and I guess it is clear that the role is quite demanding 🙂

An important point for me is that CS is often seen as the objective partner in a client conversation, between a client and sales, and that CS leaders should guard this neutral ground with everything they can.

I am very excited to see how CS will further evolve… and with this, I wish you a great week.

How did CS evolve in your company?

If you want to talk more about what a :

→ Need more structure? I help crafting a revenue strategy for you

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